Monday, July 1, 2019

IMPORTANT - PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff Program

As part of PG&E's Community Wildfire Safety Program, PG&E is implementing additional precautionary measures to help reduce the risk of wildfires. If extreme fire danger conditions threaten a portion of the electric system serving your community - including San Francisco, it may be necessary for them to turn off electricity in the interest of public safety. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS).

The PSPS Program now includes all electric lines that pass through high fire-threat areas – both distribution and transmission.

While customers in high fire-threat areas (based on the CPUC High Fire-Threat District) are more likely to be affected, a public safety power outage could impact any of the more than 5 million customers who receive electric service from PG&E, including BOMA San Francisco members. This is because the energy system relies on power lines working together to provide electricity across cities, counties and regions.

The Program will affect proactively turning off electric power for safety when extreme fire danger conditions are forecasted. The forecast can arise from high winds, high heat, low humidity, or other factors that contribute to a Red Flag warning. PG&E aims to notify those affected ahead of time, when possible, with a series of texts, social media updates, and other forms of communication that customers may sign up for. They will also utilize the AlertSF system.

What does the PSPS Program mean for BOMA San Francisco Members?

PG&E could decide to shut off power to San Francisco and/or the Bay Area as part of the PSPS Program. 

 Even if San Francisco is not subject to a wildfire, transmission lines that feed San Francisco and run through a shut off area could be affected, thereby turning off electricity to San Francisco. The transmission lines feeding the city primarily run from the east (roughly along Highway 92) and from the south up the Peninsula. The power shutoff could run for the duration of the Red Flag warnings which could last several days.

Many tenants believe that since their building has an 'emergency generator' they will be able to continue business as usual in their office space. Property owners and managers should consider planning for such an event and inform their tenants accordingly.

BOMA San Francisco members and the public can sign up for PG&E notifications to ensure they are on the notification list by going to the PG&E website:

The contact information PG&E currently has probably does not include your company’s emergency management team, but rather an administrative contact in the billing department during normal business hours. Make sure to get your emergency contacts into their 24/7 notification database!

Notifications can also be obtained by signing up for emergency messages from the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management at A useful website for planning for Red Flag warnings is National Weather Service - California Fire Weather Map

Building owners, property managers, engineers and security professionals should all consider the issues that may occur during a Public Safety Power Shutoff.

A special thanks to BOMA San Francisco's Emergency Preparedness Committee members who contributed to this update for the benefit of the commercial real estate community and for all San Franciscans.

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